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Girls basketball insider: Saints cling to UEC River lead

Published: Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 5:32 a.m. CST
Caption
(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Kaneland’s Sarah Grams tries to keep a ball from going out of bounds Tuesday during the Knights’ game against Morris in Maple Park.
Caption
(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Kaneland’s Sarah Grams tries to keep a ball from going out of bounds Tuesday during the Knights’ game against Morris in Maple Park.

St. Charles East took St. Charles North’s best counterpunches during Saturday’s 59-55 road win, keeping its hold on the Upstate Eight Conference River Division lead by getting to the foul line and converting down the stretch.

The Saints swished 22 of 31 free throws (70.9 percent), led by a 12 for 14 effort from Amanda Hilton.

“It got pretty wild at the end, but then we kind of all knew that we just had to come together,” East senior forward Laney Deckrow said. “Calm down.”

That was easier said than done with North’s Alex Silverman finding her touch from long range.

Silverman’s deep 3-pointer with 17 seconds left brought the North Stars to within 58-55. Hilton split a pair of free throws 10 seconds later to seal the victory.

While the loss left the North Stars at 2-6 in the conference – five games behind the Saints – North felt like the game wasn’t a lost cause.

“We just came out with a lot more heart and a lot more energy,” Silverman said. “We wanted it this time, really bad.”

East won the first crosstown meeting by 15 points, and will brace for another key rematch when it visits Geneva tonight. Plenty about the Saints and Vikings has changed since East beat Geneva in overtime, 81-66, last month.

The Saints’ Paige Jordan, who matched Carly Pottle with 25 points in the first Geneva game, has left the team.

The Vikings, meanwhile, have adapted their post-heavy roster to fill out a more conventional lineup. Geneva (5-2 UEC River) and East both will be wellrested entering the game, going at least six days week between contests. Second-place Streamwood (6-1 UEC River), idle since winning at North on Jan. 11, is slated to visit struggling Elgin on Saturday afternoon.

Knights on attack Kaneland limited Morris to six points in Tuesday’s second half, making quick work of a one-point deficit at intermission to roll, 65-32.

The Knights’ 1-3-1 zone after halftime flustered the Redskins and then some, as Kaneland finished with 18 steals and created most of its offense off fast breaks.

“We’ve been talking about trying to get some easy baskets and some points off of our defense, which has been missing a little bit,” Knights coach Ernie Colombe said. “We weren’t doing that in stretches, and [Tuesday] we did that.”

Kaneland, 4-3 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East Division, swept Morris and will look to mirror that feat against host Sycamore tonight.

“We definitely want to keep improving our season and keep attacking and keep playing to what we’re capable of playing,” Knights senior forward Brooke Harner said.

Fundraisers afoot Tonight’s Burlington Central/Genoa-Kingston game at Central will include a fundraiser for the victims of the Dec. 14 school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Sophomores Jackie Collins and Alison Colby led the organization. Players will be selling T-shirts ($15) and green ribbons ($1) as part of the effort. In addition, baked goods will be on sale for $1 to $2.

Tonight’s Geneva/East game will be a “Pretty in Pink” awareness night, with proceeds to be donated to Cadence Breast Health Center at Delnor Community Hospital.

Raffle prizes will be part of the fundraiser. For information, contact Lindsey Huettemann at linzmu2106@yahoo.com.

– Kevin Druley, kdruley@shawmedia.com

IN THE GROOVE

Amanda Hilton

St. Charles East, Jr., G

What she did: Hilton led the Saints in scoring during weekend victories at Larkin (13 points) and St. Charles North (26), helping East improve to 7-1 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division and keep the league lead.

Burlington Central charity stripers

What happened: After missing its lone free throw attempt of regulation, Central converted 10 of 11 foul shots Tuesday to key a 42-32, double-overtime victory at Rockford Christian. Samantha Pryor hit the game’s last four free throws as BC moved to 7-0 in the Big Northern East.

WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK

Sidney Santos isn’t skittish. Geneva’s junior point guard missed her first two seasons with separate ACL injuries, but she didn’t panic after getting tangled up and falling awkwardly during the team’s Jan. 11 win at Batavia. Retreating to the bench, Santos emerged moments later with a grin and a twisted ankle. She finished with 16 points and nine boards.

WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD

Whether St. Charles East still enjoys the look from the top in the UEC River. The league-leading Saints visit Geneva tonight before hosting Streamwood on Tuesday, and how they fare against both fellow contenders should play a big factor in the rest of the conference race. The Saints won their first games against both teams. After splitting with three of the six other conference schools last season, they’re looking for more sweeps.

COACH SLY SEZ ...

The girls basketball season sure has been grand, and even before the events of Thursday in B-Town.

We’ve had upstarts and slumped starts, but now is about the time of year where the answers come to the fore.

Several teams are vying for conference titles, including surging St. Francis in the SCC Gold. Hard to believe the regular season is winding down, but there’s plenty to keep fans occupied as it does.

• You can respond at kcchronicle.com/blogs/sly.

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